As creatives who have to deal with clients, we all face one difficult and uncomfortable situation in our careers. You already have the project, so this isn’t about convincing them to pick you for the job. This is about guiding the client to accept that your design is perfect and contains everything they want.
Don’t let an exceptional idea slip away because of poor presentation. A good creative needs to sell ideas, concepts and alternatives throughout a project. It’s all about communication: if you’ve got a fantastic proposal, don’t lose out because of poor presentation skills.
So to help out, here are five psychological tips to help convince nervous clients about your killer idea.
One of the best psychological tips for influencing people is likability. Obviously, each person’s assessment of likeable is subjective. However people tend to say yes to someone they know and like. Try to build a rapport with your clients early on during the initial stage of the relationship. Winning them over with your personality can go a long way. (Unless you’re kind of a prick like me.)
Speak with authority
When people feel unsure about a purchase, they look for a testimony from a person with authority on the subject (and sometimes their niece, who has no design skills). As a creative, your position of expertise is a given. Use your expertise to guide the client, rather than dictate them through the process.
Don’t talk down to them as you explain your idea. Instead, educate them on the finer points of the design process and how it can achieve their goals. Sometimes, how we say things can prevent the client from seeing your point.
According to the Yale Attitude Change approach, there are certain factors that help change a person’s mind, include speaking confidently and positioning yourself as a credible source.
Whatever your message, remember that it shouldn’t appear to be designed to persuade. Speakers should always present a two-sided argument. Speak through the opposing stand, making it seem reasonable before highlighting its issues.
There are words within each culture that have special meaning and carry power when used. This is the psychological theory of ultimate terms. There are three categories of persuasive words: these include God terms that demand obedience or carry blessings; Devil terms, that are despised; and Charismatic terms, which often appeal to our basic need.
Sales people, often use charismatic terms, or power words as psychological tricks. So choose wisely, because their message can be all the more persuasive if done right.
While great designs can attract clients, your attitude determines whether they’ll buy the idea from you or not. If you display certainty about an attitude when talking to another person, it will help to increase and harden that attitude. Therefore when the attitude you display is uncertain, it will soften the attitude in the other person too. This is called amplification hypothesis.
To persuade the client towards your designs, align your projected attitude with theirs. So if a client has an opposing opinion, you show vague agreement, but if the client expresses a better opinion, agree wholeheartedly.
People are followers
People often look to others for guidance, especially when they’re uncertain about something. They ask, “What do others think about this? What do others feel? What do others do?” Then we act accordingly. So if you can convince one enough members of the group that your design is the way to go, the others will come on board so that they don’t feel left out.
Of course, these psychological tips and tricks barely scratches the surface. And while I don’t believe in making things more complicated than they have to be, I think there is great benefit in knowing not only what people do, but also why they do it.
If you have any psychological tips you’d like to share, please do so in the comments below. Or find out what to do should a client rejects your ideas.